How Does a Gutter Work?


Gutter Basics

  • Guttters are made of aluminum or vinyl u-shaped tubes. They are attached to the edge of your roof by means of a clipping system, and should be installed professionally. Gutters are attached only at the bottom of the roof's slant.


  • Downspouts, also made of aluminum or vinyl, are completely round and bolted to the ends of your gutter. A garage will have a gutter on each side where the roof slants to the top of the side walls. It will also have two downspouts, each attaching to an end of a gutter.

What Gutters and Downspouts Do

  • Extensions from the downspouts allow rainwater to drain away from your home or garage, rather than closer to it, where it can damage your foundation or basement.

Seasonal Considerations

  • Gutters need to be cleaned a few times a year. Leaves and tree branches collect in them, which can halt the flow of rain water. Grab a partner and then use a stable ladder to reach the gutters. Wearing gloves, reach into the gutter and remove the debris. It can be helpful to run water from a hose down the spout.
    The safest way to get your gutters cleaned is to hire a professional.

    If you live in an area with snowy winters, you will likely find products that will keep ice from forming in your gutters, which can sag. These are typically long bags filled with a de-icer similar to that used on sidewalks in winter. Put them into your gutters in late fall and remove them in early spring.

Preventative Maintenance

  • Gutter covers are helpful in preventing your gutters from filling up with debris. These, too, can be installed by professionals.

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